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Septicemia, a common complication in chronic dialysis patients, may be an important factor in erythropoietin (EPO) hyporesponsiveness, because it is a form of inflammation. The quantitative impact of septicemia on EPO requirements has not been studied. The purpose of this study was to analyze patterns of EPO use and levels of anemia among patients who had ESRD and were hospitalized with septicemia. Using United States Renal Data System data, septicemia admissions were identified in patients with first ESRD service from 1996 to 2001. Mean EPO dosage and hematocrit (Hct) level were analyzed from 2 mo before until 3 mo after admission and compared with patients who were hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and patients with no hospitalizations. A total of 4640 hospitalized patients were included in the analysis: 3975 for septicemia and 665 for AMI. In both groups, mean Hct declined significantly in the month of admission and increased in the second month after admission. At all time points, both groups had significantly lower Hct levels compared with the nonhospitalized group. Mean EPO dosage increased, most rapidly in the month after admission. EPO use was highest in the septicemia group. Hospitalization with septicemia is associated with worsening anemia and increasing EPO use. This also was observed for patients who were hospitalized with AMI, suggesting that acute intercurrent illness plays an important role in EPO hyporesponsiveness. Strategies to prevent septicemia are important not only to decrease clinical morbidity but also to conserve EPO usage and thus contain the costs of care for this complex patient population.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN

Publication Date





505 - 510